The 4th annual Supply Chain Management Directors’ Conference took place on Santa Clara University’s campus March 4-6, 2015. Co-hosted by the Leavey School of Business and the Jindal School of Management at UT Dallas, the conference is a leading colloquium for designing, developing, and reinventing supply chain management (SCM) programs.
“This unique conference is specific to SCM administrators, program directors, assistant/associate deans and center directors who are involved in developing and managing different aspects of supply chain programs and curriculum,” said Drew Starbird, dean of the Leavey School of Business. “These leaders come together to generate new ideas, answer challenges and exchange best-practice solutions.”
Naren Agrawal and Ram Bala, faculty in Santa Clara’s OMIS department, and Shawn Alborz, director of UT Dallas’ Supply Chain program, served as conference co-chairs, working behind the scenes to bring the event together. Participants included program directors from 65 universities who have developed and directed successful undergraduate and graduate supply chain programs.
The conference featured a combination of presentations by prominent Silicon Valley executives and academic/industry panel discussions. The industry speakers included Jim Miller, vice president of worldwide operations at Google, Uddhav Gupta, global vice president at SAP, John Kern, senior vice president, supply chain operations at Cisco, and Dana Stiffler, vice president at Gartner Research. Panel discussions focused on strategies and challenges associated with marketing SC programs to industry and recruiting students for graduate SC programs. Two additional panels tackled questions related to incorporating big data and analytics into SC curricula, and innovations in SC curricula.
“The strong student interest in SC programs, and the impressive rate at which many of these programs have grown was inspiring,” said professor Ram Bala. “It became very clear that SCM is critical to the competitiveness and effective functioning of Silicon Valley companies, and that SCM is a fertile ground for exciting careers.”
“The conference provided an ideal setting to learn first-hand about current and future challenges faced by the most innovative technology companies,” added Naren Agrawal, associate dean in the Leavey School of Business. “The lessons we learnt at the conference from these executives, and from program directors across the country, will no doubt help us position the Leavey School of Business as a unique destination for a distinctive MS-SCM program that will be ideally suited to provide the much needed SC talent that these companies are hungry for.”